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Psalms 42

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. Psalms‬ ‭42:1-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

A life lived with God and for God is the most powerful antidepressant that exists.  Depression affects an estimated 15 million Americans every year, which is 7% of the entire population.  It is so common that some psychologists refer to it as “the common cold of mental health”.  There are many causes of depression, such as: physical changes in the brain, an imbalance in brain chemistry or hormones, an inherited tendency towards depression, experiencing trauma, poor diet, and toxins, just to name a few.  Although there are many effective medical, psychotherapeutic and dietary treatments for depression, there is one that surpasses them all: Our all-powerful Heavenly Father, who is always there for us: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).  For those battling depression, Psalm 42 presents several tactics that can be used to fight it and be victorious: 

1.  Actively pursue personal time with God; Seek Him.  Just as deer cannot live without water, we cannot live fulfilled, enjoyable lives without a strong, intimate, and frequent connection with our loving Father (see verses 1-2).  Spending time in God’s presence will refresh and renew your mind, body, and spirit better than anything or anyone else possibly can.  God promises: “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25).  Guard your precious time with Him and make it a priority in your daily schedule.  

2.  Spend time meditating on God’s goodness, and make a point to remember what He has done for you and others in the past.  Think back to all the times in your life when you felt like your problems were insurmountable and would never be resolved.  Now rejoice and celebrate God’s faithfulness because the fact is, despite unfavorable odds, He carried you through every time!  You are your own witness!  You can also review some of the amazing stories in your Bible where you can see how God came to the aid of those who loved Him (See stories on Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Job, Joshua, Jonah, Ruth, Esther, Peter, and Jesus).  Doing this will take your mind off of your current circumstances, will help you to focus on God, will put you in a place of gratitude, and will give you hope that your situation will improve.  It will also make it easier to focus on God’s ABILITY rather than on your own inability to rectify the situation yourself.  

3.  Give yourself a pep-talk.  This Psalm gives a great pattern to follow:

-Ask yourself:  “Why are you downcast?” (verse 5).

-Regardless of your answer, you need to give instruction to your soul: “Put your hope in God” (verse 11).

-Declare what you are going to do: “I will yet praise Him” (verse 11).

Using this pattern can help you to confront your feelings of depression and overcome them, with the help of God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit within you.

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